Pathways to the Consumer

1. Study the consumer. Be an anthropologist or a detective: observe, ask questions, take notes, examine the context. Listen carefully to their unarticulated needs. What is missing from their lives? What are their needs?

2. Look for trends. Find and scrutinize edgy websites. Visit trendy spots like Paris, Barcelona, Soho, or Shanghai. Read magazines outside of your field. Read science and futurism magazines. Listen to people who are on the cutting edge (see podcast from the Ted Conference, for instance).

3. Think about cup holders and Onstar. Industries are flooded with competitors satisfying basic needs. Customers are looking for extras—what cup holders and Onstar-like services do your customers need. [This is first instance ...

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